About the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program
My name is Jeanine Davis and I am an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. My research and extension programs are dedicated to the development of sustainable and organic production systems for herbs, vegetables, and a wide variety of specialty crops. Here is a short video on what I do in my Extension role.
The purpose of this portal is to provide access to up-to-date, practical information on the production and marketing of these crops and to keep you informed about the current projects in my program and maintain easy access to what we learned from past projects.
The current research projects my staff and I are involved in are scattered across three research stations in North Carolina and on-farm trials in North Carolina and South Carolina. Our offices, lab, and greenhouses are located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. There we have the majority of our hops breeding work, led by Dr. Luping Qu. We have a nine-year-old, twenty foot high trellis hop yard there planted with popular commercial hop varieties and new breeding lines. We also have two smaller hop yards specifically for the hop breeding program. At the Mills River station we also have research and demonstration plots on native woodland medicinals and Chinese medicinal herbs. Most recently we added floral (CBD) hemp studies including variety trials (with Dr. David Suchoff), harvest date x planting date studies, and drying research (using flue-cured tobacco barns).
The majority of our field research is at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville. There we have a certified organic research unit where we are involved in a multi-state project (TOMI) to breed tomatoes specifically for organic farmers, a multi-state project (Southeast Organic Partnership) to improve insect control on vegetables, and a heirloom-type hybrid tomato project led by our tomato breeder, Dr. Dilip Panthee. These organic vegetable studies are complimented by twenty trials on certified organic farms in North Carolina and South Carolina. We are also part of a large multi-state effort (EBP) to develop broccoli varieties specifically for the East Coast producers. My long-term research associate, Margaret Bloomquist, oversees the large trials at the Waynesville research station and two on-farm studies in the area. The broccoli studies are not organic. We also have two Black Perigord truffle orchards (one is producing) at the Waynesville research station and we plan to install a third on this year. There my research assistants, Leonora Stefanile and Katie Learn, oversee a re-inoculation study, a light study, and a woodash study. Luping Qu also maintains part of his hops breeding program at this research station. We also collaborate on grain and fiber hemp studies on this station with Dr. David Suchoff.
On the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, we have another floral (CBD) hemp planting date x harvest date study and collaborate with Dr. Suchoff on variety trials.
In addition to our research, we conduct many educational and Extension programs in the form of conferences, workshops, and field days. A multi-state Extension program we are heavily involved in is the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition. Research associate Margaret Bloomquist is a lead organizer for the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers and its subgroup, the Woodland Stewards. All of our event, publications, news updates, and articles can be found on our New Crops & Organics website and the NC Extension Hemp website. We make good use of social media, too, so follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Responsible for medicinal herb, forest farming, Chinese herb, broccoli breeding/variety trials, on-farm broccoli trials, hemp, and organic studies. One of the leaders of the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Group. Frequent speaker on all the above. Margaret has been a valued member of our team since 2012.
Research Assistant (part-time)
Leonora is embarking on new ventures, but still works for us part-time in our truffle studies. Leo started working with us as a summer helper in 2015.